With influences ranging from The Kinks and Badfinger to Animal Collective and Peter Bjorn and John, Buffalo, New York three-piece The Tins craft tight, masterfully layered songs that PopMatters calls “all the right sounds and all the right feelings.” Their new EP, Young Blame, shows the band’s evolution while continuing along the successful path they forged with Life’s a Gas, their 2012 full-length LP. Young Blame explores themes of movement, says the band: “moving forward, moving on, moving into the unknown, regardless of the consequences.”
Commended by Performer Magazine for their “jubilant harmonies, keyboard flourishes and relentless hook-filled rhythms,” The Tins have come far since their early days in an underground practice space at New York State’s Binghamton University.
Life after graduation found keyboard player and vocalist Michael Santillo, drummer David Muntner, and guitarist and vocalist Adam Putzer tight on funds, and The Tins decided to move into a small loft above Mike Santillo, Sr.’s trucking company — a space the band has called an “unlivable hellhole,” replete with dead birds, dead mice, moldy walls, rusty pipes, and an all-encompassing inch-thick layer of dust. Determined to see their plan through, The Tins put a music career on hold and spent months gutting and fully renovating the loft, living in the Santillos’ living room for the duration. The arduous experience cemented the friends’ bond.
The trio’s hard work paid off — they now reside in a custom rehearsal studio and loft where they spend their time writing music. The Tins rehearse as loud and as often as they like — provided it’s after 5 p.m. and the trucking company below is closed. When not writing and rehearsing, the band likes to step out and enjoy the warmth and friendliness of Buffalo’s small-community vibe, and is supportive of the new music that comes from the Western New York city’s thriving arts community.
The Tins put out an eponymous EP in April of 2010, a work the NME called “extraordinarily moving.” Magnet lamented The Tins’ brevity: “We understand that brand-new bands usually have very little material to offer at first, but for bands like The Tins, five tracks just aren’t enough.” Entrepreneur and Napster co-founder Sean Parker discovered the EP’s standout track, “The Green Room,” and made it a staple of his Hipster International Playlist on Spotify.
In 2012, the band recorded their debut full-length release, Life’s a Gas, with Modest Mouse producer Joe Blaney at the helm. Life’s a Gas melded flecks of art rock, new wave, and post-punk with massively catchy alternative rock foundations. An impressed Paste noted that The Tins “give off an experienced confidence years beyond what their still small catalog suggests.” The success of Life’s a Gas enabled The Tins to showcase their wares beside many notable acts at SXSW and NXNE.
Each member holds a unique, idiosyncratic role in the band, and The Tins are a true democracy; everyone is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist in his own right, and all Tins tracks are fully collaborative creations. One of the three members will present a song, then the other two will “dissect and mutilate” it before the band builds it back up as a trio, “reinvigorating and re-energizing the song so it can reach new heights.”
Returning to self-production for their latest EP, Young Blame, The Tins keep broadening their musical horizons. Drummer Muntner explains: “Young Blame takes what we have learned from our earlier recordings and refines the best parts, putting a greater emphasis on the vocals, the interplay between band members, the combination of electronic and organic elements, and the dynamics throughout each song.” From the anthemic indie rock of “Let It Go” to the baroque chamber pop of “Sylvia, Before the End,” the group covers a lot of ground in a short time span. New York-based music blog We All Want Someone to Shout For believes The Tins are “destined for greatness. They reach back to rock and roll origins, and deliver the goods: soulful guitar riffs and enchanting keyboard playing.”